In Toulouse, the imbroglio continues around the rapprochement of higher education establishments. Latest episodes: the University of Toulouse 1 Capitole has rejected the idea of a Toulouse Tech University and the negotiations between the promoters of the various projects have failed.
The vote of the Toulouse 1 University Board of Directors, Tuesday January 18, 2022, is final: 26 votes against, 2 votes for and 4 votes refused. The members of Capitole University have clearly expressed their opposition to the participation of Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) in the Toulouse Tech University (TTU) project.
This proposal, put forward by the management of the school created by the Nobel Prize winner in economics, Jean Tirole, has caused major changes within the Toulouse university community. several months a working group, commissioned by the Occitanie Region and Toulouse Métropole, is working on bringing together the universities and schools of Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) in order to appear on the international research scene, in particular through the famous ranking of Shanghai.
But the project ofCommunity of universities and establishments” (Federal and experimental committee) is not ambitious enough for the TSE, the University of Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier and the ISAE-SupAéro. The three establishments have therefore proposed to group together within the Toulouse Tech University in order to create a higher level university.
The Toulouse 1 Capitole University presented itself on this initiative on Tuesday January 18 through a vote rejecting the TTU project by a large majority. In a tweet, Hugues Kenfack, president of Toulouse 1 Capitole University, does not hide his satisfaction with this positioning. “The Board of UT1 Capitole reaffirms the unity of this university by deciding by a very large majority against the participation of its EET component and the UMR TSE Research in the TTU project.”
“Unity” because contrary to many beliefs, Toulouse School of Economics, main promoter of TTU, is not an independent establishment but a component of Toulouse Capitole. This vote is also an end to the wish for emancipation of the school of economics created by Jean Tirole.
This decision wasexpected” and “logic” for the Director General of Toulouse School of Economics, Christian Gollier. “UT1 not interested in seeing the Crown Jewels go, without negotiations“estimates the economist who evokes the questions of personnel and real estate to be resolved.
However, the academic believes that if Toulouse Tech University is not supported by Toulouse 1 Capitole, the project of “Community of universities and establishments” (Comue) experimental will not be more.
Despite appearances, all the players in this file have been talking since January 14 in order to find a solution. Less than two weeks before the call for Excellence projects of the Investments for the Future Program (PIA4), discussions were held in order to identify convergences and present a single project for the Toulouse site.
Common ground has been found on certain aspects, as revealed in a press release from the federal university, Wednesday, January 19. The institutional question remained a sticking point. The carriers of TTU rejecting the idea of abandoning the project and reviewing the situation in three years.
“These proposals were not enough to convince the promoters of the TTU project, who persisted in their desire and proposed to create an experimental public establishment within the future experimental Comue. This option remains very fragile legally, since it is based on an exit from TSE of the Toulouse Capitole University», report of the federal university.
An exit refused the same morning in the board of directors.
The pressure is now on the shoulders of the president of the University Paul Sabatier. Invited not to validate the Toulouse Tech University project, the UT3 board of directors must position itself: “we present a real choice to this establishment assures the boss of TSE. There is genuine interest in our project. The debate will be beautiful“, hopes Christian Gollier.
For Clément Varenne, head of administration and management of the doctoral school at the University of Toulouse, the opinion of the UNSA union ITRFBIO, present on the boards of directors ofUT1 and UT3, has not changed one iota: UTU, it’s no ! “We are in any case opposed to this project which carries dangerous values and we will continue to go against.“
A presentation of two files (TTU and Experimental Comue) for the call for Excellence projects of the government’s Future Investments Program (PIA4) must be made on Thursday January 20 to Paul Sabatier. TTU or Comue? The UT3 Board will vote on January 27 on these two projects.
UNSA ITRFBIO will support that of the Comue although the union is still hoping for clarification.
The horizon of Toulouse Tech University seems quite clogged. UTU, is she already buried? “Absolutely not, assures Christian Gollier. As part of the PIA4 carried by the government, the question that arises in Paris: propose ambitious things. I took my responsibilities by presenting the TTU project and I know that it attracts the attention of the ministries.“
The economist does not want to speak on possible political guarantees poor at the highest level of the State, as mentioned by local elected officials to France 3 Occitanie: “It is true that there is an interest of many people in Paris. The political power is waiting to see how everyone positions themselves before intervening.“
A posture a little “wacky” for Clément Varenne who does not see how political power can impose a project against the advice of the boards of directors of the universities concerned.